Last week BlackRock, the largest asset management firm in the world, sent a stunning letter to CEOs across the BlackRock portfolio stating that companies without a clear social purpose might risk losing the firm's support. Recognizing the firm's primary responsibility as a fiduciary entrusted with managing client assets for their long-term financial goals (like retirement), Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO, stated:
To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.
By drawing a clear connection between company sustainability and positive social contributions, Fink has added a critical new metric to how BlackRock, Wall Street at large, and even independent investors will assess the health, exposure, and future prospects of a company. The New York Times even mused that the move might raise “all sorts of questions about the very nature of capitalism.”
From socially responsible investment funds to pressuring Apple to make design decisions that protect children from developing unhealthy iPhone habits, individual investors and firms alike have been steadily working towards holding corporate America accountable for more than the bottom line. Since a clear social purpose is a central element of the mission of The Urban Helper, we couldn’t be happier with this direction!
When she first got the idea of The Urban Helper a couple years ago, founder Charlotte Culina saw the company as necessarily serving two needs: 1) helping people get work done and 2) strengthening local communities and neighborhoods. “My business model creates a totally new and really exciting skill-sharing platform that not only drives a brand new economy but connects people to one another in their own neighborhoods,” Culina says. “It was really important to me that The Urban Helper work for any participant, regardless of their income, and that it would foster productive and neighborly relationships in our own communities.” The social benefits of The Urban Helper stretch far beyond these core objectives, from addressing global warming by shortening or eliminating commutes, to supporting and nurturing non-profit organizations, to facilitating creative ways to address inequality in public education.
We agree with Larry Fink when he says, “Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential.” Join us and help make the world a better place!